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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cool Breeze Triathlon

Yesterday, my family piled into the van for the drive to Huntersville and the Cool Breeze Triathlon. We arrived at our hotel around 4 pm and were putting our numbers on our bikes when my mom asked me if I had my cycling shoes…I didn't. It was a blessing that she mentioned it that night, or I wouldn't have realized what I was missing until the morning of the race. The closest bike shop was the Spirited Cyclist, which closed at five. We hurried there and walked in at 5 sharp, but there was no hurry; I ran into the perfect person to help me. Mike Harvey was as helpful as could be, and even offered to let me borrow a pair of his shoes for the race tomorrow. When they didn't fit, he stayed well after closing time finding me a comfortable pair of shoes and attaching cleats. When the cleats didn't fit, Mike tried everything he could think of- loosening the pedal clips on the bike, lubricating the cleat and pedals, brute force, but all in vain. Finally, he filed down the edge of the cleats and we were up and running. When it was alll figured out, Mike had stayed an hour after closing time to help us out. He even gave us an enormous discount. We ended up paying only $90 for a brand new pair of shoes fitted with cleats. Without Mike and the Spirited Cyclist, I wouldn't have been racing the next day. I've also got to thank my family for not freaking out about this extra excursion. They were starving when we realized that I'd left my shoes back in Wilmington. Needless to say, they were ravenous an hour later, but none of them muttered a word of complaint. I'm really lucky to have such a supportive (and forgiving) family!
I awoke Sunday morning feeling physically and mentally prepared to race. We drove to the race site and I bid my mom goodbye, wishing my brother and dad who were also racing good luck before I left to warm up. It was a chilly mid forties and fairly windy, so I was glad to have my TMS-IOS race top to keep me warm. I started 5th, pushing off at 8:00:30. As always, I thanked God for the opportunity and asked him to give me courage to race the best that I could that day before I began. After a smooth swim I pulled on my gloves while running to the bike. I pedaled away and slipped my feet into the new cycling shoes with ease, silently thanking Mike Harvey as I did so. I passed TMS-IOS teammate Chris Tommerdahl and another guy within the first mile, putting me in second position. My odometer wasn't working so I simply put my head down and hammered, seeing no one else until about a mile left on the bike. Donny Forsyth passed me as I was taking a turn very slowly, since my handling skills are pretty crappy. I passed him back on a straight stretch, and then slowed way down for another turn and he came around again. This repeated itself one more time before we arrived in transition, where my mom was screaming her head off. I get serious tunnel vision during races, so its pretty impressive that my mom cheers hard enough for me to notice her. She spends just as much energy being support crew for my dad, my brother, and me as we do when we race.
At this point my world was spinning. I have never felt so dizzy in my life, and struggled to pull my run shoes on. I dug deep and fixed my eyes on Donny Forsyth's back, gradually reeling him in. All the while my head was spinning faster and faster, as if it was riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at Carowinds. I felt like I was going to fall over any moment but just focused on running my fastest. By the time I crossed the finish line I had no energy left to supress the dizziness and pretty much plopped down on the ground. I closed my eyes and just stayed there for a long time before I tried to sit up, but my head was still spinning at a zillion miles an hour, so I lay back down again. Someone came over and told me to breathe deeply. By that time my mom had come over, too. She thought that I felt that way because I hadn't been breathing enough, and my dad later agreed, adding that the cold weather could have caused me to take shallow breaths.
I ended up second overall (again) to Zack Capets, who won by about twenty seconds. Donny Forsyth was third, another thirty seconds behind me. My teammates faired well today, too- Chris Tommerdahl dominated for the third time this season, taking the open female title by several minutes. Kristin Villopoto podiumed in the female master's open. As for Team Boyles, my dad finished a strong second in the cutthroat 45-49 division, while placing twelfth overall. Jackson, who is only twelve, finished third place in fifteen and under, behind two fifteen year olds. All in all, it was a fun weekend of racing and family time.
Until next time,
Train smart and race hard!
Mason Boyles

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Azalea Festival Triathlon (Saturday race)

This weekend I raced Azalea, my first triathlon of the 2010 season. I came in to this week really fatigued from a really hard training block, so I knew that recovery leading up to the race would be critical- however, at first I didn't accept it. I cut my volume but did some very intense workouts in all three sports on Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, I was absolutely cooked. I had gone just a couple days too far with the hard training and seemed to have fallen over the edge. This, along with my dad's persistence that I needed to have a real recovery week, finally convinced me to back off. And so Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were low volume, low intensity days with some brief pickups which left me feeling fresh again and excited to race on Saturday morning.
It had been raining sporadically all week, as Wilmington rain tends to come in brief, frequent bouts. Fortunately the skies stayed clear all morning and it turned out to be the perfect weather for a triathlon: about sixty degrees with partial clouds. Once I got to the race site, I met up with fellow IOS elite multisport team members Mr. and Mrs. Younts, who had brought me my race gear. I am very lucky to be a part of such a fantastic team and to have the support of companies as great as Inside Out Sports and Triangle Multisport, so I was looking forward to racing in the team uniform.
My warmup went smoothly, though I finished about twenty minutes before I was set to start. Several times I hopped into the pool and swam a few laps to keep loose before jumping back on to the deck and pulling on a jacket. My number was ten, meaning that I started at 8:02:15. When the time came, I pushed off of the wall and immediately found a smooth rhythm. Considering the current state of my swimming (atrocious at best) I was happy with how the first leg went; I was almost able to catch #9, who had started 15 seconds before me. Going down the stairs from the pool, I slipped and fell. It took me a couple of tries before I could get up, but I managed to make the other two flights without incident. The run to T1 was a couple hundred yards, which helped to get the blood flow going back to my legs before the bike. After a quick transition, I was out onto the bike course. One guy passed me right away and I stuck with him for a couple miles before he gradually gapped me. I passed IOS teammate Chris Tommerdahl about three miles in as we were going down Eastwood Road. I wasn't feeling very strong during the bike leg and didn't pass or get passed by anyone until I was on the run. In fact, about halfway through I began to wonder whether I had a flat tire (which I didn't). However, I kept thinking positively and just did the best that I could, thanking God for this opportunity to give my best effort. I finished the bike and was in and out of T2 in a flash.
At this point, I was feeling very dizzy and lightheaded. I have no clue why, but I was very unsteady on my feet and had tunnel vision from the late stages of the bike on. This wasn't goint to stop me, though. I just settled into a fast cadence and focused on running with grace and power. By the turnaround I had reeled in four guys and was in third position. I dug deep and tried to get all of the speed that I could from my stride. I finished in 45:40, 44 seconds behind the winner, Matthew Wistoff, and 1:02 ahead of third place overall finisher and IOS team member Brad Perry. I was gunning for Mr. Wistoff, but he is a fantastic athlete who has won many races in his career. Even though I didn't get him, I dropped 2:53 from last year and felt like I performed well for this time in the season.
The two major triathlon series in North Carolina, FS Series and Inside Out Sports North Carolina Triathlon Series, offer an unparalleled race experience. I am truly lucky to live in a state with such a thriving triathlon community and strive to never take their service for granted. In short, FS Series and Setup Events are awesome!
Another great thing I took away from this race was meeting my fellow Inside Out Sports teammates. We nearly swept the race, with team members earning 2nd and 3rd overall male, (myself and Brad Perry, respectively), and taking 1st (Chris Tommerdahl), 2nd (Tara Flint), third (Joanna Younts) overall on the women's side. Kenneth Younts placed 10th overall and 3rd in for masters open males.
My other 'team' also had great showings. My dad and brother both won their age groups, my dad placing 12th overall in a time of 50:24, and my twelve year old brother finishing in 1:02:48. As for my mom, she definately won the biggest fan award. I love it when we all go to race. It makes for a really exciting day. Now I get to look forward to Cool Breeze Triathlon on March 28, where all of the Boyles Boyz will toe the line together once again! After that, its all about Duathlon Nationals at the end of April.

My splits today were: swim-3:54; T1-1:19; bike-23:38; T2- :42; run-16:10, for a 45:40 finish.
Train hard and race smart!
Mason Boyles